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Again, Venezuelans applauded. Taking from the rich is popular. Ramon Muchacho, a former mayor in Caracas, told Alvarez that when Chavez seized businesses, people were "clapping so hard. They were like, 'Oh, finally there is somebody here making social justice!'"
But government grabbing private businesses creates shortages. Governments aren't good at running supermarkets. One Venezuelan refugee told Alvarez, "It's like the apocalypse. No food. No medicine."
But in the U.S., socialism still holds appeal.
"Plenty of (socialist) countries are nothing like Venezuela," says comedian John Oliver.
"When I talk about democratic socialism, I am not looking at Venezuela," says Sen. Bernie Sanders, "not looking at Cuba. I'm looking at countries like Denmark, like Sweden."
So many American politicians now cite Denmark as a socialist paradise that Denmark's prime minister felt compelled to go on TV to say, "Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy."
Exactly. Socialism, democratic or tyrannical, means government owns or controls businesses.
In Scandinavia, business is largely left alone. Governments don't even set a minimum wage. Economic freedom rankings give Scandinavian countries high scores on property rights and business freedom.
Those countries do have big welfare programs, but they are funded by thriving free enterprise.
In addition, many cut back on their welfare programs after they discovered they were unsustainable or discouraged work.
Think about that the next time you hear celebrities saying "Sweden" and praising socialism.
As one Venezuelan refugee told Alvarez, "You don't need the government to dictate how to live your life, how much money you should make, how your family should be treated."
Increased government control rarely helps people. It wrecks economies. It wrecks lives.